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Posts Tagged ‘David Byrne’

Friday, September 7th, 2012

FME 2012 Day Four

Jean-Pierre Ferland and Fanny Bloom at Festival de musique émergente 2012

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSince I’ve covered the essentials of FME in the first two posts, I’ll just preface this one with a curious statistic. Of all the meals I ordered in Rouyn-Noranda over the five days I was there, I’m pretty sure I got the wrong order at least half of those times. Wrong size, wrong topping, wrong food, whatever. And my French isn’t that bad. I mean it’s bad, but I know what I said. Strange. Anyways.

The Sunday of FME was decidedly light on programming – there were still shows, certainly, but not nearly as much and an itinerary of hanging out with friends new and old doing nothing took precedence. Still, there were a couple of things I definitely wanted to catch before the festival was over. Fanny Bloom was the stage name of Fanny Grosjean, former frontperson for Sherbrooke electro-pop group La patère rose, who came to my attention after being Polaris longlisted in 2009 for their self-titled debut. The band dissolved last Summer and Grosjean released Apprentie guerrière, her excellent debut as Fanny Bloom, earlier this year.

She was showcasing this record with an afternoon show at Salle Evolu-Son by way of a set of piano-led modern pop with a light but distinct synthetic edge. It was less arty than I expected; her persona in La patère rose was kind of manic so I thought that might have carried over to her solo context, but it still got pleasantly unhinged at points. As with all Francophone acts, the language barrier was an impediment to fully enjoying/experiencing the music, but melody, emotiveness, and charisma still go a long, long way.

Photos: Fanny Bloom @ Salle Evolu-Son – September 2, 2012
Video: Fanny Bloom – “Parfait parfait”

For the evening, there was really only one option for FME – indeed, for the entire town. I have never heard of Jean-Pierre Ferland, but I was informed he was something of an entertainment legend in Québec and a quick inspection of his credentials would back that up. A recording career that spans more than a half-century and an Officer of The Order Of Canada and Knight of the National Order of Québec are not accolades that many can lay claim to. Nor would the festival have erected a giant stage on the beach of Lac Kiwanis for just anyone, but they did for this rare live performance, and while I can’t find an estimate of how many people came out for the free show, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was in the five digits.

A performer of the old school chanson tradition with a presence not unlike a mischievous uncle, he was accompanied by a big band and backing singers and while I (again) didn’t understand hardly any of what he said or sang, his charm was self-evident and the songs rich with balladry and melodrama, covering bases from folk-pop to disco-rock. I’m sure that it was all slightly – or maybe very – cheesy, but in the very best way and I can’t imagine a more appropriate or authentic way to close out my visit than lying on a hill beside a lake, watching the sun set and the stars rise and taking it all in.

Photos: Jean-Pierre Ferland @ Range Kiwanis – September 2, 2012

And thus ends my FME coverage. It was a decidedly unique experience and while its location makes it difficult to suggest that people just head over and check it out, if you’re looking for something off the beaten path, can speak passable French – not absolutely necessary, but this ain’t Montréal – and have a taste or interest in Canadian Francophone music, it’s worth investigating. And come on – 24-hour poutinerie. Spinner, The National Post, and Exclaim were also all up there this weekend and have shared their experiences and insights.

Anyone remember Friday Night Videos? Yeah? Congratulations, you’re as old as I am. Here’s some new shorts that came out this week to help distract you from that ugly reality. Stereogum has premiered the new video from Sweden’s Holograms, in town at The Shop Under Parts & Labour on September 11.

Video: Holograms – “Fever”

DIY has premiered the new video from Calexico’s Algiers – out next week – and also talk to director Paloma Zapata about the clip.

Video: Calexico – “Splitter”

Rolling Stone and Vulture talk to David Byrne & St. Vincent, who bust a move in the first video from Love This Giant, out next week. They’re at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre on September 20.

Video: David Byrne & St. Vincent – “Who”

Vulture brings you the first video from Beth Orton’s new album Sugaring Season. It’s out October 2 and she plays The Mod Club on September 30.

Video: Beth Orton – “Magpie”

Ellie Goulding has released a video from her new album Halcyon, out October 8, and has confirmed a date at The Sound Academy on October 14. Tickets for that are $25 in advance.

MP3: Ellie Goulding – “Anything Could Happen”
Video: Ellie Goulding – “Anything Could Happen”

Rolling Stone is first up with the new video from Jason Lytle’s new record Dept. Of Disappearance, out October 16.

Video: Jason Lytle – “Your Final Setting Sun”

Sigur Rós’ Valtari video project has produced another clip.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Dauðalogn”

A Music Blog, Yea? – a new site from the Toronto area – has a chat with The Cribs, who have a new video from In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull.

Video: The Cribs – “Anna”

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

FME 2012 Day One

Timber Timbre, Half Moon Run, and more at Festival de musique émergente 2012

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo as I mentioned in passing last week, I spent the Labour Day long weekend up in Rouyn-Noranda, Québec, attending the Festival de musique émergente en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, henceforth referred to as FME. It’s okay if neither the where or the what don’t mean much to you – they didn’t mean much to me before I agreed to attend. Getting up to speed requires a little geography and history, so if you’re sitting comfortably, then we’ll begin.

Wikipedia can give you the vitals, but basically Rouyn-Noranda is a mining city in Québec located about eight hours from both Toronto and Montreal and three hours from Timmins, Ontario. It’s not geographically northern Québec – there’s a hell of a lot more of la belle province above it – but as far as large settlements go, it’s up there. In addition to the mining industry, it’s the regional capital, is home to a campus of the Université du Québec, and hosts a film festival as well as this music festival. It’s not big by any means, but somewhat surprisingly has most any of the amenities you’d want for urban living, not least of which is a 24-hour poutinerie that I got a little too well-acquainted with over the week. It’s remote, but it’s not rural. I’ll get to the “what” of the festival tomorrow, but one of its main venues was the Agora des arts, a charming small church converted to arts centre with a somewhat less-charming lack of working HVAC. Which is to say that if you crammed it full of people in late Summer, it got hot. And on this opening night of the fest, it was crammed full of people. Thus hot.

The first act of the night was David Simard, originally from BC but now based in Québec. Performing with just a guitar and backing vocalist Brie Neilson at his side, he offered a short but charming set of tunes with an laid-back, troubadour vibe laced with a touch of scoundrel. Nothing you haven’t heard done a million times before, but still done well. Southern Souls has featured Simard a few times.

Photos: David Simard @ Agora des arts – August 30, 2012
Stream: David Simard / Slower, Lower

Montreal’s Half Moon Run have done pretty well for themselves for a new outfit and a debut album in Dark Eyes, from being all over NXNE here in Toronto a couple months ago to lining up high-profile support slots in the US for the likes of Patrick Watson and Metric. And yet for that success, I was asked more than a few times by people I met what I thought of them – insecure much? Anyways I told those people what I’m telling you – they have a very of the moment sound with a fondness for late-era Radiohead-y electro-emotiveness, Local Natives-y percussion, and not a little modern R&B funkiness and fondness for slow jams. It was all made very radio-friendly and accessible and rather safe-sounding. A few points sounded like they were riding the edge a bit, but mostly not. I wasn’t especially won over but clearly, they don’t need my support. They’re doing just fine.

Photos: Half Moon Run @ Agora des arts – August 30, 2012
Video: Half Moon Run – “Full Circle”

Timber Timbre were the evening’s headliner and even though we had both traveled up from Toronto, I realized that I’d never really seen them live properly besides last Fall at the Polaris Prize gala, where they were shortlisted for Creep On Creepin’ On. They weren’t quite the nine-piece ensemble that played that occasion – they numbered six this time out – but they sounded great. The church setting seemed like the right one for them, despite there being something decidedly unconsecrated about their sound, even though the dark and creepy quotient seemed somewhat dialed down. That was a good thing, though, as projecting less affected gloom made room for more variety of emotion to come through. And while I’m not sure what the heavy, distorted number that closed their main set was – I don’t know the Timber Timbre catalog that well – it was much more visceral than I’d have expected from them and maybe served to prep the room a bit for Godspeed in a couple of nights.

Photos: Timber Timbre @ Agora des arts – August 30, 2012
MP3: Timber Timbre – “Black Water”
MP3: Timber Timbre – “Demon Host”
Video: Timber Timbre – “Too Old To Die Young”
Video: Timber Timbre – “Swamp Magic”
Video: Timber Timbre – “Bad Ritual”
Video: Timber Timbre – “Black Water”
Video: Timber Timbre – “Demon Host”
Video: Timber Timbre – “Woman”
Video: Timber Timbre – “Oh Messiah”
Video: Timber Timbre – “We’ll Find Out”

With the Agora closed but the night still young, it was then off to the Caberet de la dèrniere chance for a little France French in the form of Jesus Christ Fashion Barbe. Yes of course that decision was based entirely on their name, though it wasn’t nearly as glammy or in your face as you might have expected. Or at least I expected. Instead, they offered a Gallic take on English post-punk with a decidedly low-key presentation. The tunes were alright – they took the melodic rather than abrasive route through the genre – and deceptively complex in structure, but a little more dazzle in the live show or originality in approach would have held my interest longer. Instead, poutine called.

Photos: Jesus Christ Fashion Barbe @ Caberet de la dèrniere chance – August 30, 2012
Video: Jesus Christ Fashion Barbe – “And Make Us Wilder”
Video: Jesus Christ Fashion Barbe – “Diver”

Yes it’s back to school/end of Summer season, but it’s also high-profile record release season. And a whole bunch of those have just been made available to stream. David Byrne & St. Vincent’s Love This Giant collaboration is up at NPR. They play the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on September 20 and The Stool Pigeon, New Zealand Herald, and Pitchfork have feature pieces on the project.

MP3: David Byrne & St. Vincent – “Who”
Stream: David Byrne & St. Vincent / Love This Giant

NPR also has Coexist, the new one from The xx. Grantland, The Skinny, Spin, and The Guardian all have features to coincide with next week’s release. And while the NPR stream is fine, the band’s own geo-interactive stream is cool to play with.

MP3: The xx – “Angels”
Stream: The xx / Coexist

CBC Music is streaming Inner Classics, the new album from Snowblink. They play the Bicycle Music Festival at Trinity-Bellwoods on September 15 at 6PM and The Music Gallery on September 27.

MP3: Snowblink – “Unsurfed Waves”
MP3: Snowblink – “Black & White Mountains”
Stream: Snowblink / Inner Classics

The Vaccines’ second album Come Of Age isn’t out until October 2 in North America but its UK release on September 11 means The Guardian can go right ahead and stream it right now. CBC Music has an interview with the band. Update: It’s actually out in the UK and Canada now; only Americans have to wait till October. Sorry folks, commonwealth perks.

Stream: The Vaccines / Come Of Age

The self-titled debut from TOY, on the other hand, is out concurrently in Europe and the UK so the preview stream at The Quietus is the same lead time for both continents. The Line Of Best Fit also has a feature piece.

Stream: TOY / TOY

The release of Pet Shop Boys’ latest Elysium got moved up from September 18 to 11 at some point, hence it being available to stream at The Guardian right now rather than next week. There’s also a new video.

Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Leaving”
Stream: Pet Shop Boys / Elysium

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

We Fold Inside Of Us

Review of The Daredevil Christopher Wright’s The Nature Of Things and giveaway

Photo via File Under: MusicFile Under: MusicPrior to a few years ago, the city of Eau Claire, Wisconsin wasn’t widely known for very much besides being a convenient stopping point between Madison and Minneapolis. That has largely changed, at least amongst certain circles, thanks to the success of favourite son Justin Vernon of Bon Iver who rather than decamp for the bright lights of the big city with the onset of success has instead further entrenched himself in his hometown, building his April Base Studios just outside of the city and helping bring international attention to the city’s music scene which consists largely of friends and collaborators.

The Daredevil Christopher Wright can count themselves amongst them, what with Vernon having worked on their 2009 debut In Deference To A Broken Back and taken the trio on tour with him, but those looking to their just-released second album The Nature Of Things for that sort of forlorn, epic wilderness spirit will only find it partially satisfying. There are traces of that to be found, certainly, but The Daredevil Christopher Wright are more playful in personality, both musically and lyrically, though one can’t help notice a bit more sombreness around the edges than on their debut. Their impressive three-part harmonies might encourage some to draw Fleet Foxes parallels, but their best reference point, at least to these ears, is the throwback folk-rock of Texas’ Midlake, albeit again with more lightness to their approach. Gentle and genteel but delivered with a sly wink, The Nature Of Things is a record that may not strive to be the life of the party but will also never overstay its welcome.

No strangers to Canadian roads – they opened up for Dan Mangan across the country last November – the band are about to embark on a North American tour that brings them through Toronto to the Horseshoe on August 7 en route to the Maritimes before returning back to the US. It’s a free show and an early show – they’re on at 8:40PM – and since I can’t give away passes, I’ll give away albums. Courtesy of Webster Media Consulting, I’ve got four copies of The Nature Of Things to give away – one on vinyl, three on CD – so if you want one, email me at contests@chromewaves.net with “I want The Daredevil Christopher Wright” in the subject line and your full name, mailing address, and preference of LP or CD in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, August 6. And because I don’t get to do this that often, the contest is open to anyone in Canada.

There’s an interview with the band at CBC Music and the stream of the new album posted at Exclaim when it came out last month is still working.

MP3: The Daredevil Christopher Wright – “Divorce”
Stream: The Daredevil Christopher Wright / The Nature Of Things

The Gossip are touring North America in support of their latest album A Joyful Noise, and will be in Toronto at The Phoenix on September 29. Singer Beth Ditto is interviewed over at The Guardian and The Independent.

Video: The Gossip – “Perfect World”
Video: The Gossip – “Move In The Right Direction”

Matt & Kim are also back on the road with a massive tour in support of their new one Lightning; they’ll be at The Phoenix on October 5. Matt Johnson talks to Spin about the new record.

MP3: Matt & Kim – “Let’s Go”

Chicago’s The Sea & Cake are back with a new album in Runner and a tour that brings them to Lee’s Palace on October 18, tickets $16.50. Full dates are available at Pitchfork and a preview of the new record is available below.

MP3: The Sea & Cake – “Harps”

JAM and Altsounds have interviews and Drowned In Sound a video session with Sharon Van Etten; she’s at The Phoenix tonight.

Stereogum talks to Steven McDonald of Redd Kross about Researching The Blues, their really really really excellent new album, out next week. Don’t believe me? Listen for yourself at NPR.

MP3: Redd Kross – “Researching The Blues”
Stream: Redd Kross / Researching The Blues

The Sugar reissues are now out and awesome, and if you’re unconvinced then read the Pitchfork review don’t give me that look for excellent explanations of why. Bob Mould’s next solo album The Silver Age is out September 4.

A second track from Love This Giant, the collaboration between David Byrne and St. Vincent, is now available to stream. The album is out September 11 and the pair are at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on September 20.

Stream: David Byrne & St. Vincent – “Weekend In The Dust”

Stereogum is streaming a new song from the forthcoming Calexico record Algiers, out September 11. They’ve also got a video of a live performance of the same song.

Stream: Calexico – “Spitter”

Those hoping that those Grandaddy reunion shows and reissues would lead to new material will have to make do with a new Jason Lytle solo record. Dept. Of Disappearance will be out on October 16 and Pitchfork has details and a stream of the title track.

Stream: Jason Lytle – “Dept. Of Disappearance”

October 16 will also be the release date for the long-awaited second album from Savoir Adore. They released the first video from it last month.

Video: Savoir Adore – “Dreamers”

Tobin Spout talks to Rolling Stone about Bears For Lunch, the third Guided By Voices album of 2012 due out in November, and their plans to release a new one every six months or so after that.

Creative Loafing talks to Eric Bachmann of Archers Of Loaf.

The Guardian tries to get into the head of The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne.

NYC Taper has a recording of one of Wilco’s recent New York-area shows available for download.

Monday, June 18th, 2012

NXNE 2012 Day One

Porcelain Raft, Army Girls, Eternal Summers, and more at NXNE

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangLast week turned out to be a pretty spectacular week – weather-wise – for a festival. Good thing that Toronto had one. Or four. At least three. In any case, I was focused on NXNE; anything else going on in the city were just obstacles to be navigated around – literally. The relatively lighter Wednesday night of the programme meant that there’d be less need for club-hopping, though, and one could ease themselves into the festival grind gently.

“I’m 23 and I’m scared shitless”. That’s how Carmen Elle, the guitar-slinging/lyric-singing half of Army Girls introduced their set at Supermarket, and you were just going to have to take her word for it because if you were looking for some evidence of those frayed nerves in their performance, they were nowhere to be found. As much as I go on about this band, I actually hadn’t seen them live since last October, and as good as I thought they were then the heavy playing and touring they’ve done since then – they just finished up a North American tour with PS I Love You – has made them even better. Exceptionally tight with a side of jam, Elle performed with poise and verve, the only thing better than seeing them live again was hearing all the new material in the set. Only two songs from their Close To The Bone EP made it into the set – and were highlights, sure – but the new material arguably demonstrated more songwriting range without sacrificing any of the punch. But the best takeaway on the night was Elle’s declaration that they were planning to release not one but two albums this year; I’ve heard such ambitions from other artists before and will believe it when I see it, but for as long as I’ve been saying that Army Girls have what it takes to be as big as they want to be, it seems like they finally want it. Look out.

Photos: Army Girls @ Supermarket – June 13, 2012
MP3: Army Girls – “T W I C E”
Stream: Army Girls / Close To The Bone

The next and last stop of the night was The Drake Underground where the lineup guaranteed plenty of buzz, if not quality. First up was Virginia’s Eternal Summers whom you could be forgiven for assuming was a hazy post-chillwave outfit, but who in fact were a decidedly loud, faintly angry, garage-bred power trio specializing in what you might reference as surf-gazey, sonically youthful noise. And while I hate myself a little for writing the previous sentence, I’m sticking with it. They weren’t necessarily the most charismatic performers, but it certainly sounded good. Their new record Correct Behavior isn’t out until July 24, but that still leaves plenty of Summer – if not an eternal amount – for it to enjoyably soundtrack.

The Singing Lamb and We Love DC have interviews with the band.

Photos: Eternal Summers @ The Drake Underground – June 13, 2012
MP3: Eternal Summers – “Millions”
Video: Eternal Summers – “Wonder”
Video: Eternal Summers – “Millions”
Video: Eternal Summers – “Safe At Home”

The first thing I noticed about Montreal’s Mac DeMarco was that they exceeded the Surgeon General’s recommended allowance of baseball caps in a band; three of four is just unacceptable. Musically they were fine; their smooth, yacht/lounge rock was hard to actively dislike and with a SXSW-calibre schedule for the week ahead – this was the first of something like 10 shows – and claiming fatigue from the trip into town, some laying back and clearly uncharacteristic sloppiness was allowable, but it was certainly easy to not dig the overt bro-ness of the band. Belching into the mic? Yeah, no.

Toro has an interview with DeMarco.

Photos: Mac DeMarco @ The Drake Underground – June 13, 2012
MP3: Mac DeMarco – “Baby’s Wearin’ Blue Jeans”
MP3: Mac DeMarco – “I’m A Man”
Video: Mac DeMarco – “Only You”
Video: Mac DeMarco – “Exercising With My Demons”
Video: Mac DeMarco – “European Vegas”
Video: Mac DeMarco – “She’s All I Really Need”

Given the number of influences and styles name-dropped in reference to Italian-in-New York Mauro Remiddi’s Porcelain Raft and his debut Strange Weekend, I would have expected something decidedly more experimental but the live two-piece – Remmidi and a drummer/multi-instrumentalist – were much more about big, crescendo-friendly dance pop with a distinct European accent, which was also cool. Their songs may have been built on a base of samples and loops but they were defined by the guitars, drums, keys and vox – all pretty conventional and also pretty pretty. Engaging at first, the set seemed to lose form somewhat as it progressed, but that may have just been me taking their song “Put Me To Sleep” a little too close to heart. After their set, I checked out. It was going to be a long weekend.

Photos: Porcelain Raft @ The Drake Underground – June 13, 2012
MP3: Porcelain Raft – “Unless You Speak From Your Heart”
MP3: Porcelain Raft – “Put Me To Sleep”
Video: Porcelain Raft – “Unless You Speak From Your Heart”
Video: Porcelain Raft – “Put Me To Sleep”
Video: Porcelain Raft – “Tip Of Your Tongue”
Video: Porcelain Raft – “Drifting In And Out”

Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon, whose Cyrk garnered glowing reviews on its release earlier this year, will be releasing a second album from those same session entitled Cyrk II on August 20 and accompany it with a North American tour – she’ll be at The Rivoli on September 18.

MP3: Cate Le Bon – “Puts Me To Work”
Video: Cate Le Bon – “Puts Me To Work”

The long-rumoured David Byrne/St. Vincent collaboration is not only real, it has a name – Love This Giant; a website – LoveThisGiant.com; a first MP3 – “Who”; and a tour – look for them at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on September 20.

MP3: David Byrne & St. Vincent – “Who”

Morrissey may be sticking to his guns on not playing Canada until we stop eating any meat and wearing leather, but you have to see his just-announced US tour as throwing southern Ontario a bit of a – if you excuse the metaphor – bone. He’ll wave to us from the Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls on October 19; you might say that as he continues to ignore us, this is as close as he’ll get. Maybe make a road trip of it, hit the Anchor Bar for some wings.

Video: Morrissey – “The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get”

A track from Metric’s new album Synthetica is available to download.

MP3: Metric – “Artificial Nocturne”

Also now yours to take home – the first single from Grizzly Bear’s still-untitled forthcoming album. It’s out September 18 and they’re at Massey Hall on September 26.

MP3: Grizzly Bear – “Sleeping Ute”

Sympathies to the friends and family of Radiohead drum tech Scott Johnson, who died in the stage collapse on Saturday and best wishes to those injured.

And further sympathies to the friends and family of former American Music Club/Sun Kil Moon drummer Tim Mooney, who passed away on the weekend. There’s remembrances from his bandleaders Mark Eitzel and Mark Kozelek, and donations to his family can be made via PayPal.